Hybrids Dominate EPA’s Top 10 Fuel Economy List

Nine of the top 10 vehicles in the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy rankings for the 2010 model year are hybrid gas-electric vehicles—putting to rest any question about the technology’s ability to wring more miles from a gallon of gas.

The list also reveals the trend of more hybrid models coming out from a wider group of automakers. Six different car companies now make hybrids. “There’s now a hybrid for everyone,” the EPA said in releasing the latest findings. “It’s not either a Prius or a Insight anymore.”

The Toyota Prius was once again the leader, with fuel economy of 51 miles per gallon in the city and 48 mpg on the highway. Other vehicles in the top 10 include the Ford Fusion Hybrid and its Mercury Milan twin, the Insight and Civic Hybrid from Honda, and the Nissan Altima. The only non-hybrid on the list was the tiny Smart ForTwo, which is rated at 33 mpg city/41 highway.

Japanese carmakers dominated the annual rankings, placing eight gas-electric hybrids in the Top 10—but Ford is now threatening to become the single American company to join the upper echelon of hybrid makers. If current trends continue, Ford will soon overtake Honda as the second biggest seller of hybrids—behind Toyota which sells more hybrids than all other carmakers combined.

Ford’s hybrid sales have increased by 73 percent this year, due to the success of the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the sustained popularity of the Ford Escape Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market. “More than 60 percent of Fusion Hybrid sales have been from non-Ford owners, and more than half of those are customers coming from import brands, mostly from Toyota and Honda,” said David Finnegan, Ford hybrid marketing manager.

Meanwhile across the pond, Toyota was recognized this week as the “greenest” manufacturer in the United Kingdom, according to research conducted by Clean Green Cars. The award is based on CO2 emissions of an automakers entire lineup of cars and averaged by sales per unit. Based on the findings, Toyota is the first carmaker in the UK to drop below the 130g/km level for mean carbon emissions across its model range. The company’s new minicar, the Toyota iQ, helped it earn the award.

The Prius’s top ranking from the US EPA will be challenged next year by new plug-in hybrids and electric cars hitting the market. The EPA is struggling to establish meaningful comparisons between gas- and diesel-powered cars, hybrids, and plug-in cars—a potentially difficult calculation because it depends on multiple factors such as the number of miles driven, the distance of all-electric range, and the mix of energy sources used by a regional utility. The pressure on the EPA will continue to grow, because the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Leaf electric car will be introduced next year. The all-electric Tesla Roadster was not included in this year’s ranking.

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  • alancamp

    It’s interesting how the EPA is able to come up with economy ratings for hybrid cars, when they haven’t developed the metrics for rating hybrid cars yet. So for now it’s all about how much ‘less’ petro the car uses, and not about how many ‘miles’ the car is able to travel.

    I think Ford will make a huge surge with the Euro styled 2012 Electric and Hybrid Focus along with the Euro styled 2011 Fiesta, which should also be offered as a hybrid. I think what’s holding the Fusion back is the old generic boxy styling that Ford is finally moving away from.

    Most people tend to want a car to look like a car, and not be forced to drive around in a ‘environmental statement’ on wheels in order to use electric power, and avoid buying petro.

    It may be that the ‘greenies/tree huggers’ have raced to purchase their Priuses (or is that Priusi), now the rest of us are just waiting for actual ‘cars’ that we can drive, that use hybrid and electric power instead of petro.

  • Anonymous

    “There’s now a hybrid for everyone”

    Incorrect. The prius is too small, the escape is too big, and I don’t want a sedan. Where are the hybrid wagons? Also a hybrid minivan would be good too.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    Alancamp, EPA has developed the metrics for rating hybrid cars. EPA can compare the present hybrids to regular car because they all use fuel (gasoline, diesel, E85, etc.) per distance with no other external source of energy (electricity, solar, etc.). Next year it will not be that simple. The Nissan Leaf gets all its energy out of the wall. How does the varying electric cost across the country compare to varying gas cost across the country? How is EPA going to compensate for those varying cost? Now add in the varying cost by the Chevy Volt going 40 mile on electricity before going to gas operation. And then compare it to some future car that goes only 20, 30, or 100 miles on electricity before going to gas operation. Each new variable makes it that much harder to develop an “easy formula” to compare cars. It may come down to energy per distance with EPA developing some formula to determine the energy per distance. One would plug in the distances involved and the various gas, electric, diesel, etc. costs to come up with a comparison of vehicles based on their varying performances.

  • DocM

    Waiting, waiting waiting for a Hybrid wagon.

  • Corby

    Weird… If you look at the actual fuel economy guide: http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/FEG2010.pdf

    They have divided up the fuel economy leaders by category; the Honda Insight is categorized as a “Compact” car and yet it is missing from their list of fuel economy leaders (even though it ranks just a hair below the Civic Hybrid).

    In fact, the Honda Insight is not actually listed anywhere in their collection of fuel economy leaders. It’s completely missing. You would only know about it if you go down through the somewhat messy listing of all cars by category and found the numbers for yourself. Strange to omit the 3rd most efficient car from the list?

  • alancamp

    Yeah, noticed the omission of the Honda Insight in their economy leaders section. I sent them an email today. But I bet the Honda marketing folks are all over this. My guess is that there will be an ‘update’ to this 2010 Guide quietly posted on their website in a few days.

  • Jake O.

    Corby and alancamp: The Honda Insight is not missing in the official Fuel Economy Guide. Only the top leader in each segment is referenced on page 4 of the guide (i.e. only first place, not first and second). For compacts (automatic), the Honda Civic Hybrid is listed because it gets slightly higher mileage (40/45) than the Honda Insight (40/43). In the overall top ten list announced by the EPA, the Honda Insight is listed at number 4. See http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/overall-high.htm

  • sean t

    I agree w/ Lost Prius to wife, the efficiency of a car would be measured by distance (km, mile) travelled by a unit of energy (kwH, kilo Joule or mege Jould or whatever) or how many unit of energy consumed to go a certain distance (100km as current).

    I don’t agree w/ alancamp saying that Prius is a environmental statement on wheels. To me, it’s a beautiful car with very sleek design (lowest Cd among passenger cars). IMHO, if a car wants to look like a car, it should have a low Cd before anything else, otherwise it’ll look like a truck.

  • Mr. Fusion

    Agreed with Anonymous up top:
    No hybrid for everyone.
    When someone makes a hybrid 4×4 Pickup Truck with real gas savings, doesn’t look like it belongs on the moon AND can haul a load, then there will be a hybrid for everyone.

    Yes, I know there’s the Chevy Silverado Hybrid. But opt for the 4×4 package and the mileage is 20/20. No 8 ft bed either. Besides, I have a really hard time looking at the ugliness of this generation of Chevy truck.

  • Impreza 2.5RS Owner

    Redbeard coudln’t have said it any better. I am waiting for the day they make a 4 x 4 pick-up with real gas savings.

  • crut100

    You know what is real interesting? The Volkswagon Jetta TDI is not listed it’s highway mileage is higher than the Smart for 2 and it is much more realistic vehicle than that rolling death trap Smart Car

  • laptop ac adapter

    I agree w/ Lost Prius to wife, the efficiency of a car would be measured by distance (km, mile) travelled by a unit of energy (kwH, kilo Joule or mege Jould or whatever) or how many unit of energy consumed to go a certain distance (100km as current). Or you can see HP Pavilion DV5000 AC Adapter(Input: AC100-240V (worldwide use);Output: DC18.5V 3.5A)
    HP Pavilion DV9000 AC Adapter(Output: DC19V 4.74A;Power: 90W )

  • Joe

    Has anyone noticed that every GM/Ford cars now beats every Toyota and Honda cars why now? where were the American car makers just a year ago, plus why is the service so bad from the dealers I got tiered of taking my Ford T-Bird back to the dealer for the same problem I sold it only after 150K in 03 switched it for civic (stick) which it now has 167k I drive 110 miles per day round trip I change the oil every 10k, replaced the breaks twice, and gave it a major tune up @ 120k it’s on it’s 3rd set of tires the radio reseption sucks AM band but all in all I Love my civic it still gives me great gas mileage today I filled it I put 431 miles and it took 10.1 gals = 42.67 no way does a GM/Ford car give that kind of mileage if you know of one let me know!!!
    These are my cars.
    05 Scion XB 35MPG 80k.
    03 Civic LX 40+ MPG 168k.
    01 VW Passat 24MPG 125k (not good enough).
    92 Civic DX 35MPG 205k.
    96 Chevy Impala SS 15MPG 56k. (For Sale) 20 gals tank.

  • BJ

    I would love to purchase a Hybrid. But as the population gets older you need more room in back to carry walkers and wheel chairs. Cars that are large enough to handle these items are not very fuel efficient. I don’t think it makes sense to purchase a new car unless the fuel economy is greater than 40 miles a gallon around town and more on the highway. What is wrong with American car makers including GM products and other American car makers not jumping on the band wagon along with Toyota and coming up with better midsize Hybrid that will be comfortable and affordable for middle income families.

  • asepwiyono

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